Piney Run Park provides antidote to the 'whining days' of summer


August 16, 1994|By SHERRY GRAHAM

Ah, the waning days of summer. The last few precious weeks before school is once again in session.

You'd think this would be a great time for a kid. There's still a chance to squeeze in a couple more summer memories. Maybe even have an adventure or two worth mentioning in the required essay on how I spent my summer vacation.

Alas, these last two weeks before school begins have become known around my house as the whining days of summer.

My offspring are tired of each other, bored with their friends and would swear that we haven't been anywhere or done anything the entire summer.

How quickly they've forgotten the miniature golf games we've played, the movies they've seen, the week in Ocean City and several trips to Cascade Lake. Never mind that we swim a couple of times a week -- they're bored.

Along about this time of summer, we focus our attention on some of the simple pleasures found close to home.

Piney Run Park once again becomes a favorite hangout. We like to visit in the late afternoon and early evening. The air has cooled some by then, and most of the day camp kids have gone home.

There are plenty of paddle boats to rent and lots of the dock space needed by my inexperienced fishermen. You may even be lucky enough to catch a pontoon ride.

The park is a wonderful place for a quiet weekday family picnic. Tables are available and the grills are just waiting for your charcoal and hot dogs.

A jaunt to the Nature Center is both educational and enjoyable. Some of the critters at the Nature Center are fed daily around 4 p.m. Visitors are often permitted to help with the feeding if you're there at the right time. Bird lovers will want to check out the small collection of owls and hawks behind the center.

If you enjoy hiking, the trails through the park offer a quiet refuge and some good exercise.

Hikers are invited to join the park's 100-mile club. After hiking, stop at the Nature Center, where the distance you covered will be tallied and recorded. When you've walked 100 miles in the park, you will receive a free coffee mug.

Lucky for me that the summer reading program at the Eldersburg branch of the Carroll County Public Library has provided my boys with motivation to read. Apparently, the program has inspired many young readers, with more than 2,100 children registered at our local branch.

Along with the long-term rewards of improved reading skills come the stickers and other small prizes the kids receive each time they present their summer reading log at the library. Tickets for free admission to the Baltimore Zoo were a great registration incentive.

Now there is an added benefit for participants: the end-of-summer celebration at the Carroll Farm Museum Saturday from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Readers and their parents can enjoy storytelling, craft demonstrations, face painting, games, museum tours and farm animals. Singer Ray Owens will perform two tuneful shows.

Refreshments will be sold or you may bring a picnic lunch.

Admission to the event is free for readers with their reading log; adult admission is $1.50.

The youth at Faith Lutheran Church in Eldersburg have kept busy this summer manning their snowball stand on Liberty Road.

In its 11th year, the stand provides young people with a chance to show their Christian witness and a means to earn funds for their youth activities.

The church's young people traditionally have put the money to good use, bringing youth outreach groups such as Captive Free to the area. Part of the proceeds from the snowball stand are used to support a mission project.

The snowball stand is open six days a week -- it's closed Sundays -- from 3 p.m. until 9:30 p.m. It's nice to know that not everyone has spent the summer whining.

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